Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Last Tango Spurs More Mature Weddings

There is little doubt that the brilliant Red Production series of Last Tango in Halifax for the BBC caused a ripple effect in popularising weddings of more mature brides and grooms, says the team at Holdsworth House in Halifax. 

The BAFTA winning BBC One show told the tale of Alan Buttershaw (Derek Jacobi) and Celia Dawson (Anne Reid) who are both widowed and in their 70s. When their grandsons put them on Facebook, they rediscover feelings for one another that are just as intense and beautiful now as they were 60 years ago when they were teenagers.

The series two finale on Christmas Eve showed Alan and Celia finally tying the knot and celebrating their romance with a grand wedding reception. Series writer Sally Wainwright from Halifax was insistent that as many scenes as possible were filmed in locations familiar to her. Wainwright and Red Production’s producer Karen Lewis chose four-star hotel Holdsworth House in Halifax - already a popular wedding venue - as one of the romantic settings.

Since airing, the team at Holdsworth House has seen enquiries for marriages and receptions from more mature couples increase twofold. It is clear that the story of Alan and Celia’s relationship described as ‘a celebration of the uplifting power of love at any age’ has encouraged many mature coupes to take the plunge.

Wedding coordinator Claire Nicholl said, ”We have seen a definite increase in older couples wanting to get married or renew their vows at Holdsworth House since Last Tango in Halifax. We call it the ‘Alan & Celia effect’! Sometimes couples that come to us have been married before, like Alan and Celia, and it is so wonderful to see large families celebrating the happiness of their grandparents or mums and dads together. The TV show was quite true to life focusing very much on family relationships; it was quite dark as well as comical in places since both Alan and Celias families come with baggage. However in the rare occasion there is tension we find that families tend to put any differences aside and the hotel becomes a wonderfully happy place to be”

Nicholl continues, ”We were lucky to be featured in the show. We still get visitors coming in saying ‘We saw it on Last Tango’, but when they realise they too can get married here, the excitement is palpable. We find older couples tend to want a sophisticated, understated wedding celebration. These are people who know what they like and want quality over quantity, good food and relaxed surroundings. ”

Last Tango in Halifax is up for its second year of BAFTA nominations in May 2014, with headline cast members Sarah Lancashire and Nicola Walker in the running for best supporting actress.

Pictures courtesy of Kyte Photography and Red Production Company

Friday, 4 April 2014

Three Generations Celebrate Together

Karen, Alisha and Margaret pictured in the historic Hall
If there was ever a place that knows how to throw a good party, it's Holdsworth House. For over 50 years the historic manor has been hosting top events and this spring was no different when three family members, who all work at the hotel, chose their place of work  as the place to party.

Margaret Henderson, who has worked part time in the restaurant for 18 years, has recently retired. Margaret's daughter is Karen Porter - a senior housekeeper at the hotel, and Margaret's granddaughter Alisha Jade Porter plays an important role in the restaurant team. But is was the occasion of Margaret's birthday that brought the three generations together for pleasure not work at the hotel. On March 20th Margaret chose to celebrate her birthday in a private dining room. Yet her official retirement party took place on 3rd April when the front office team and other colleagues joined to celebrate 18 impressive years of loyal service to Holdsworth House and the Pearson family who own it.

Some of Margaret's favourite memories during her time at Holdsworth House include TV presenter Gary Lineker visiting and seeing Jamie Oliver and his crew take over the grounds to film one of his popular shows. However it's the regular guests of the hotel and restaurant who are the ones that Margaret says made her job so interesting and enjoyable.

It hasn't all been hotel life for Margaret, as a church warden at her local Holy Nativity, Margaret visited Tanzania in 2008 to look at projects, which the hotel supported. And she's not ready to reach for the knitting needles any time soon, in fact she's going to be as busy as ever as she continues to help at the luncheon club and mums and toddlers group.

Margaret's granddaughter Alisha said, "My grandma will always think of her time at Holdsworth House as being part of a big family. I've certainly inherited the passion for hotel work from her and my mum. My main role is working on the top table of the wedding parties looking after the newlyweds and their families, this is a role my grandma used to do too!"

Congratulations to Margaret and enjoy your retirement - from the team at Holdsworth House x

Friday, 28 February 2014

Same Sex Marriages from 29th March

We were thrilled to hear the news from the Calderdale registrars recently that same sex marriage / gay marriage is being recognised from 2014 onwards.

Equalities Minister, Maria Miller, is vowing to put in place procedures to allow those who are in a civil partnership to convert to marriage by the end of 2014

Same-sex couples who married abroad under foreign law and are currently treated as civil partners will be recognised as being married in England and Wales from March 2014. So if you want a party to celebrate then you know where to come!

Read more about the change in law in The Guardian's article from December 2013 or contact Calderdale Register Office on 01422 288080

Holdsworth House is fully licensed to hold marriages conducted by the registrars, which includes those covered by the new law. Lesbian and gay couples wishing to be the first to marry here need to formally give notice of their intention to marry in the usual way on 13 March.

It's a huge step in the right direction and we can't wait to welcome more couples to our historic grounds for some more historic occasions!

Holdsworth House - featured as Caroline & Kate's 'romantic rendezvous' hotel in the BBC's BAFTA winning Last Tango in Halifax.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

5 reasons to have a Christmas wedding

Think about it, Christmas weddings have so many things going for them; it makes us wonder why so many people choose a wedding in the summer months.

With warming open fires, twinkling frost on the lawns and beautiful winter sun - your wedding photos will be stunning (and great lighting didn't even make it in to our top five!)

Here are some of the best reasons for having a wedding around Christmas time at Holdsworth House.

  1. Christmas decorations are up all around the hotel. Not only do you not need to bother dressing your function room, the entire hotel will be dazzling in festive fanciness. 
  2. Nobody will forget your anniversary. Least of all your betrothed, so make space for your Christmas and anniversary cards.
  3. Everyone will be in a good mood. It's Christmas after all and, unless there's a Scrooge in your family, your dearly beloved will enjoy the excuse to gather together at this special time of year.
  4. Guests are likely to be on holiday from work. This is a bonus so choose any day of the Christmas week to invite your nearest and dearest to the party of the year.
  5. You can be more sure of the weather without pinning your hopes on blisteringly hot sunshine. Think winter shawls, faux fur, multi-coloured wellies and the scent of spicy hot toddies wafting around. 
Cool is officially chic.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

When the Beatles Came to Stay

50 Years Ago This Year

Reminisce with Gail Moss co-owner of Holdsworth House Hotel about the time The Beatles came to stay. Hear Gail talk to Tim Daly of BBC Radio Leeds.

Watch out for the actual restaurant bill, which our French head chef at the time wrote to 'The Beetles' (!!)